Remember just a few days ago in this space we linked to an editorial from the Fort Myers (Florida) News-Press, in which they applauded the efforts of Rep. John Peterson (R-PA) to lift the federal moratorium on exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Peterson’s been a warrior when it comes to opening US reserves in an attempt to drive down gas prices for us all. The News-Press threw in with him and his bill, and lamented the fact that the Florida Congressional delegation has been largely asleep at the wheel on this issue.
Also this week, we noted that Florida’s senior Senator, Bill Nelson (D) has steadfastly opposed exploration in the OCS and had decided of late to focus his energies on preventing Fidel Castro from tapping the reserves in his own waters — 45 miles off of Florida’s coast. Good luck there.
In any event, Sen. Nelson has responded to the News-Press editorial, restating his opposition to opening the OCS to exploration because of what he says will be its negative impact on Florida’s tourism industry. Remember that these rigs will be some 100 miles off the coast. As you can see from this schematic, that puts it about 85 miles past any possible line of sight. The spills from these rigs have been nil and it’s even more remote that in the unlikely event of a spill that it would make it 80-100 miles to shore.
Nelson cites the last spill, in 1969. Says he:
“The January 1969 explosion at a gas well off the coast of California also caused a 200,000-gallon release of crude oil…. The public outcry was so great that it caused Congress to enact a nationwide coastal drilling ban — the very same moratorium that remains in effect today and that Mr. Peterson and others, including your newspaper, now want to repeal.
Fort Myers and the entire state of Florida have been fortunate enough to avoid such disasters caused by gas or oil drilling, thanks to those drilling bans established after the 1969 accident.” (Emphasis ours)
Sen. Nelson is right that the last spill occurred in California some 37 years ago. However, the reason there have been no major spills is not because a ban was enacted but because of the advance of technology. As we noted yesterday, this map shows the location of drilling platforms and the path of two hurricanes — with not a drop of oil spilled.
Says Sen. Nelson in conclusion:
“We can’t drill our way out of this crisis and the situation today can only be solved by turning to alternative energy sources….”
Do you agree? Feel free to click here drop Sen. Nelson a note, share your thoughts.
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